When a good show loses its main character, it takes a major toll on everyone. Its felt behind the scenes, its felt in viewership, and its certainly felt in the storyline. Leading roles have been fired, chosen to pursue other interests, and taken up opportunities they just couldn’t pass down. For the many reasons that shows have bombed following the departure of its main character, here is a list of the top 20 TV shows that lost all of their momentum after their star left.
When the curtain finally came down Connie Britton’s Rayna James, Nashville fans everywhere were devastated. Rayna James was killed off during hospital scene at the end of episode 9, “If Tomorrow Never Comes”. Connie Britton that she felt her time had come on the show and that she had done everything she could with a character. Fans still don’t understand why she was written off and rightly so because the show is having a difficult time standing on the one leg of Hayden Panettiere.
The Vampire Diaries fans were committed and loyal to Elena. It came as a bit of a shock when Nina Dobrev left the show. The sexual tension and romantic struggle between Stefan and Damon with Elena was the number one reason that fans stayed loyal for as many seasons as Nina stayed on the show. It came as no surprise that the viewership went way down when they tried to transfer that same romantic vibe onto performer female co-stars who simply fell short of the task.
After seven seasons of The Office Steve Carell said goodbye to his character Michael Scott. He told reporters that he planned to spend more time with his family. He said that when he first signed on he signed on, he wanted to fulfill his contract and felt that there wasn’t much more that could be done with this character. He was surprised when he felt a major fan uproar upon his exit because he didn’t see it as such a huge deal.
Two And A Half Men
It quickly became clear to ever the Two and a Half Men would fall short of expectations without Charlie Sheen in the cast. Unfortunately, Charlie Sheen was fired from the show because he continuously knocked heads with producers over a number of things including compensation. The casting directors would go on to replace him with Ashton Kutcher who fans just couldn’t buy into. It was expected that Charlie Sheen would make a return to the finale of the show but once again he and the director could not come to terms and so they had to stand in for Charlie Sheen’s character whom they would drop a piano on to close the curtain.
One Tree Hill
It was first announced that Chad Michael Murray will be leaving the show when he was caught on a video saying that he would not be returning for another season to a group of fans. It left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth when they found out the big news in such an unprofessional manner but that didn’t take away from its truth. He said, “They’re not bringing me back because they want to save money. No, actually. I’m not kidding. I won‘t be back next year. They‘re not having me back. I‘m actually not joking.”
When Zach Braff left the cast of Scrubs it felt like the show’s sails had the wind taken out of them. He said it certainly wasn’t by choice and it left everyone in tears. Turk without JD was a bit like Joanie without Chachi and even though they were trying to bring new blood into the show there was no way that they could replace that kind of chemistry.
The X Files
“I think what happens is when you’re doing a show like we did and there aren’t that many of them, but you’re talking about eight or nine years of working 12 to 14 hours a day with the same person … I think we both went somewhat crazy,” Duchovny said. David Duchovny left the show because it started to drive him crazy and you needed to be a part of something new. After 9 years of being on the show it was obvious that his departure would leave the show hopeless but when it’s time to move on, it’s time.
Shannen Doherty love Charmed because she had several disputes with co-star, Alyssa Milano an executive producer Brad Kern. Naturally, when there are disagreements in creative it’s extremely hard to work with those people for extended periods of time.
Shelley Long said farewell to Cheers so that she could pursue a career in the movies instead. Her 11-year run on Cheers was one that earned the respect of everyone including fans, producers, and co-stars, which is why it was so difficult for everyone when she left. However, it was rumored that she had a terrible reputation behind the scenes having clashed with Ted Danson on numerous occasions. Although the cast of Cheers felt like her departure reenter the bar, fans felt and that’s why viewership went down.
Michael J fox had to leave Spin City because his Parkinson’s made it impossible for him to continue on the show. He said that although he could have done another year they were just at the things he wanted to do more before the disease got progressively worse. His star power was the source of attraction for Spin City show his departure left a wide void in the mix.
Three’s Company featured the late John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, and Suzanne Somers. Summers was a Powerhouse for the show as she won a People’s Choice Award for favorite female performer. She started to become a household name in an international sex symbol. But when she asked for a salary raise from ABC that would see her value equivalent to that of John Ritter’s, her request wasn’t well-received. She was receiving $30,000 episode but wanted to raise to $150,000 per recording. Instead, ABC offered her $5,000 per episode, only a $2,000 raise. As a result, she boycotted the third and fourth show of the newest season, which would force a breach-of-contract leading to her termination.
Colton Haynes left Teen Wolf after two seasons because the heads of the show wanted to limit him to only appearing on half the season. He said that he wanted to return but not if he would be limited as much as they wanted him to be. It was a sad loss for the rest of the cast as they had a great bond with Colton. They admitted that they were upset because he was being forced out of the show. He said that ultimately his decision to leave was because if he had stayed with the show he wouldn’t be able to work on other projects during the time he wouldn’t be featured on the other half of the show.
That 70’s Show
When Topher Grace left That 70s Show, it was like that one true love between Donna and Eric was all we had for so long and all we really knew to be that one everlasting love, and then it was gone in a flash. It was widely rumored that Topher desperately wanted to pursue Hollywood greatness, and so he would start by taking whatever rolls Paul Rudd didn’t feel like taking. The show was based around the Foreman family, so it just felt confusing when we still had Red and we still had Kitty, but we didn’t have their son in the mix for them to be mad at all the time.
“I think I just got to the point where I was like, ‘I’m not sure I’m enjoying this anymore,’” Barton said. “I just felt like I was in a machine and I couldn’t really get off. So it was time to step back. So I went back to England and it was just a year of real self-exploration.”
Cory Monteith’s death was a disaster for everyone that knew him and for the show itself. He was found dead from an accidental drug overdose in his Vancouver hotel room. His long-standing ship with Rachel was one of the major detail that kept fans on the edge of their seat for such a long time. If he had passed away glee would be completely different as Puck wouldn’t have joined the airforce, and the Glee Club wouldn’t have lost its funding and been disbanded. But all of those things did happen at all subsequently after his passing.
George Clooney was undoubtedly the star of ‘ER’. It was the perfect timing for Clooney to launch a successful movie career, but it definitely hit viewers hard because they loved him and really hated to see him go. Everyone on set felt a loss because he was the glue that held everyone together, in hindsight this was the right move not only for Clooney but for Hollywood.
After Jeremy Clarkson had been fired, Richard Hammond knew almost immediately that he was ready to quit. No matter what he was going to stand by his longtime colleague, respectfully. He said, “It all became a bit obvious past a certain point, you know, we do what we do and for whatever reason and whether you agree or not there are those that think we do it quite well, so it became obvious and I thought, well if we’re going to carry on doing that, we’ll do it together.”
Not exactly an example of highbrow drama, Mistresses was nonetheless a fine piece of soapy escapism on the primetime schedule, and a lot of it initially had to do with Alyssa Milano’s Savi Davis. Unfortunately, when MIstresses changed filming locations from L.A. to Vancouver, Milano left the show as to not have to travel so far, and the show had to deal with that glaring crater. Jennifer Esposito hopped on board for a bizarre storyline in the third season, but that was just a one-and-done scenario, and Mistresses struggled on for another season before ABC decided to just get rid of it entirely.
8 Simple Rules
When John Ritter died in 2003, he was replaced by David Spade and James Garner. His untimely death was written into the show which cast an ominous shadow over the entire plot that frankly made fans feel a bit uncomfortable. As funny as David Spade may be in as lovable as James Garner may be, their presence on the show could never fill the void that John Ritter left.